Model, French magnate in NY child support duel
Linda Evangelista leaves Manhattan Family Court Thursday, May 3, 2012, in New York. Evangelista is demanding that ex-boyfriend Francois-Henri Pinault pay child support for their 5-year-old son. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
NEW YORK (AP) — She has one of the world's most famous faces. He's a billionaire fashion CEO. And their 5-year-old son is at the center of a bitter, big-money child support fight.
Supermodel Linda Evangelista and ex-boyfriend Francois-Henri Pinault, a French business tycoon now married to actress Salma Hayek, faced off Thursday in the utilitarian environs of a Manhattan family court.
She wants a court to make him pitch in for child-rearing expenses she has tallied at nearly $50,000 a month — for armed bodyguards and a round-the-clock nanny, among other costs.
The trial is offering a public glimpse into the lives of the boldface and beautiful, from the vagaries of a modeling career to the peripatetic lifestyle of a movie star's child. The first day of testimony included a detailed description of a $12 million mansion and Pinault discussing his brief breakup with Hayek before their 2009 marriage.
Evangelista, the 1980s and 1990s magazine-cover fixture who famously quipped that supermodels "don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day," looked on with somewhat anguished poise in a demure black knee-length skirt, flower-patterned blouse and tan stiletto pumps.
At one point, she let out a faint, frustrated "ohhhhh!" and raked her hair with her hands when Pinault's lawyer, David Aaronson, said she was looking for $46,000 a month. While that's what she said she's spending on the child, Evangelista's lawyer said Thursday she isn't asking for any particular amount.
Supermodel Linda Evangelista, right, leaves Manhattan Family Court Thursday, May 3, 2012, in New York. Evangelista is demanding that ex-boyfriend Francois-Henri Pinault pay child support for their 5-year-old son. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Although she willingly paid all the boy's expenses for most of his life, her roughly $1.8 million-a-year income took a major hit last year as a contract with L'Oreal ended, said her lawyer, William Beslow.
"It became necessary for her to go to the bullpen and ask the father for help," he told the court. "Ms. Evangelista is not looking to piggyback the lifestyle of Mr. Pinault."
But Pinault's camp says the supermodel is doing just that. A potential $46,000-a-month tab is "just ridiculous," Aaronson said.
Evangelista, now 46, and Pinault, 49, dated in late 2005 to early 2006, though he testified Thursday that the trans-Atlantic couple spent only about seven days together over that time.
Pinault is the chief executive of PPR, which owns Gucci, Yves St. Laurent and other luxury brands. He makes about $4 million annually from a complex of his family's companies; Forbes recently estimated the family's net worth at $13 billion.